Across sub-Saharan Africa, where MCI is working to help selected secondary cities attain the Millennium Development Goals, more than 150 million adults, or 38% of the adult population, lack basic literacy skills. Fortunately, a number of organizations are working hard to change this. LitWorld, a NY-based NGO dedicated to improving global literacy and a long-time MCI partner, held its third annual World Read Aloud Day on March 7, which presented an opportunity to engage in literacy-building exercises and advocate for global learning opportunities. Students from several Millennium Cities participated, joining others around the world to honor learning and literacy.
Millennium Cities Initiative » Page 2
The Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), a project of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, assists sub-Saharan cities in their efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, thereby helping to make severe poverty a thing of the past. MCI helps selected, under-resourced urban centers become viable, sustainable “Millennium Cities” — each with distinct livelihood opportunities, improved access to public services and links with the countryside and international markets. MCI accomplishes this through a combination of research and policy analysis, and by working with local, domestic and international partners to stimulate economic and social development.
There is much to celebrate, this International Women’s Day. Three fabulously courageous women won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and just a year earlier the United Nations established UN Women, a new agency dedicated to gender equality worldwide and headed by another strong woman leader and role model, former President of Brazil Michelle Bachelet. School enrollments of girls are unprecedentedly high, the world has finally begun to mobilize around safe childbirth and other women’s health issues, and the World Bank is reporting this week that we have achieved the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG), halving extreme poverty, well before the United Nations’ 2015 deadline, thereby easing the lives of hundreds of millions worldwide. Yet a tremendous amount of work waits to be done.
The Earth Institute’s annual donor report for fiscal year 2011 is now available in an interactive digital format. We remain committed to finding extraordinary support to unprecedented global challenges, many of which are outlined in this report. We have highlighted some of our innovative projects in research, policy, and education, as well as the partnerships that are helping to support them.
My lasting impression of Kumasi, Ghana, is one of incredible warmth; traveling there with the MCI team for the Kumasi Stakeholder Workshop, which was held October 11-13, I was happy to discover that the much talked-about “Ghanaian friendliness” was a generalization that proved to be true. I was also inspired by the number of Kumasi residents I met who face whatever obstacles they encounter – whether minor inconveniences or major developmental challenges – with grace and a true can-do attitude.
Community Health Workers (CHWs), health assistants or lay health workers who provide a fundamental level of health care for residents in the community in which they live, have been shown to make a tremendous contribution to public health and community development. In Kisumu, Kenya, residents of Manyatta, an informal settlement with nearly 90,000 people that currently lacks any sort of government-run health facility, will soon benefit from an ongoing, wide-ranging CHW training, led by the Municipal Council of Kisumu’s Health Department, in collaboration with Cordaid Urban Matters, a Dutch development agency, and MCI, ably led by MCI’s Public Health Specialist Beldina Opiyo-Omolo.
For many in the developing world, education isn’t taken for granted. Around 35 million girls are out of school, the World Bank says, almost half of them in sub-Saharan Africa. In support of girls’ education, MCI joined the literacy organization LitWorld and other partners, including Connect To Learn, Asia Initiatives and the Children of Kibera Foundation, for a “Stand Up for Girls” rally to celebrate the International Day of the Girl on September 22.
Maternal and neonatal mortality rates remain high across the Millennium Cities and throughout much of the developing world. All the more reason why we’re excited about the second in a series of ultrasound trainings and screenings in Kumasi, Ghana, led by the London-based International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG), MCI’s partner, which works all over the world to further maternal and child health through the use of this life-saving technology.
The following is a guest blog, authored by Pam Allyn, Executive Director and Founder of LitWorld, a global organization advocating for children’s rights as readers, writers and learners, and an MCI partner. This account is based on Pam’s travels to the Millennium City of Kisumu, Kenya, to spend time with four Girls’ Clubs, which foster literacy while building self-esteem.
In rural Uganda a bicycle is the key to many destinations. It can take you to be an entrepreneur offering delivery and taxi services, it can also increase the revenue from the crops since you will be able to transport your “Matoke” bananas to the nearest town and boost the price. A bicycle here means… read more
In Kenya, as in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, girls have lower primary and secondary school completion rates than boys. Yet learning can empower girls, providing them with critical skills that enable them to become higher wage earners and community leaders. Ms. Lois Owiti, a teacher at Kisumu Day Senior High School in Kisumu, Kenya,… read more